TL;DR: Reuters is reporting “people familiar with the plans” confirm the blockchain division of legacy bank JPMorgan Chase & Co is in merger negotiations Ethereum co-founder Joseph Lubin’s startup, ConsenSys.
JPMorgan Quorum in Merger Negotiation With ConsenSys
Referring to it as the JPMorgan “marquee blockchain unit,” a potential Quorum “merger with ConsenSys was chosen as the best path forward as both organizations work with Ethereum and have been involved in joint initiatives in the past.” Indeed, Quorum operates on Ethereum, and the largest US bank reportedly “has been considering spinning off Quorum for around two years, evaluating options including setting up an open-source foundation, creating a new startup or merging it with another company,” Reuters cited.
Merging Quorum’s more than two-dozen staff members would be in line with its open-source ethos, and at least one person close to the talks apparently confirmed any deal with ConsenSys would maintain the Quorum brand and its open-source operations. While not formalized, a merger could see a public launch later this year, sources hinted, “but financial terms are still unclear.”
I understand JPM wanting to spin Quorum out. They should be chain agnostic and experiment with a broader range of technologies. But not clear about Quorum’s future with ConsenSys. The latter’s main commitment is to ETH.
For its part, JPMorgan and its infamous CEO Jamie Dimon have had an uneasy relationship with the cryptocurrency world from which “blockchain technology” interest emerged. Dimon was an early, vocal critic of projects like Bitcoin while his enormous company appeared to be gradually hedging its bets just the same. Quorum, for example, lords over the bank’s payments Interbank Information Network (INN) and is expected to mint a “JPMorgan Coin” in conjunction at some point in the near future.
ConsenSys is one of the larger companies in the cryptosphere, and it has struggled of late to stay afloat. Recently, it announced another round of layoffs, and last year its founder and CEO was sued for millions by a disgruntled employee. During the same time, however, ConsenSys scored investment from SK Group, a South Korean telecommunications giant. While considered a blockchain software company, ConsenSys is also known for its financing of ecosystem media, including crypto news site Decrypt and SingularDTV (now Breaker.io).
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